April 1, 2007 6:51AM

Eight Seconds on Health Care

At Cato's Health policy summit this weekend, Susan Chamberlin kept challenging us to come up with an 8-second sound bite on health care. I had nothing better to do on the plane ride home than to work on the puzzle. Here is what I would propose:

The prescription for better health care is more freedom to innovate, not remote-control surgery from Washington.

I was struck by the fact that some states have sensible policies in some areas. In fact, I can imagine other soundbites along the following lines:

Health insurance costs less in [pick a state, say Kansas or Oklahoma] than in Massachusetts, thanks to fewer dysfunctional regulations.

People who have diabetes or other expensive chronic conditions do not have to worry about health insurance if they live in [pick a state], thanks to the state's high-risk pool.

Consumers today can find information to help them select the best health insurance plan, the best doctor, and the best treatment alternative, thanks to services available on the Internet.

If you want to see even faster progress on solving problems with our health care system, try more deregulation to encourage more innovation. Try encouraging more competition, not a government monopoly. We need responsible consumers making informed choices, not bureaucratic diktats.